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OfferCore

Also known as: No associated aliases are known

Category: Malware

Type: Bundler, adware, potentially unwanted program (PUP)

Platform: Windows

Variants: PUP.Optional.OfferCore, Win32/OfferCore, PUADIManager:Win32/OfferCore, Riskware/OfferCore, Win32/OfferCore.C

Damage: interferes with your browsing, redirects you to other websites, injects ads, displays pop-ups, exposes your personal data, installs other software on your device.

Overview

OfferCore is classified as a potentially unwanted program (PUP), specifically an adware. It hijacks your browser and wreaks havoc by messing with the settings and your browsing. It can affect all popular browsers and take over their control. OfferCore usually ends up on Windows devices bundled with other software, so you never even notice you’ve installed something without meaning to.

Possible symptoms

As with most adware, the most common symptoms of OfferCore are intrusive and aggressive ads, pop-ups, and banners that start showing up. Other symptoms of an OfferCore infection include:

  • You find new browser extensions that you’ve never installed.
  • You’re redirected multiple times before the actual page you want to visit loads.
  • Your website randomly loads malicious websites with fake tech support notifications, virus warnings, giveaway announcements, and other material meant to trick you to click on it and download mysterious files.
  • You notice hyperlinks on some keywords that lead to other websites.
  • Your default search engine and homepage are changed.
  • Your browser or the whole device starts performing poorly and heats up a lot.
  • You find unwanted software installed on your device.

Sources of infection

Like all adware bundlers, OfferCore mostly ends up on your device attached to the software that you downloaded and installed yourself. It likely came from illegal or unsafe websites and third-party app stores, and brought a nasty friend with it.

But there are other ways you might infect your computer with OfferCore:

  • Phishing or spam emails with infected attachments
  • External storage devices, like memory cards, USB sticks, or hard drives.
  • Drive-by downloads from malicious websites.

Protection

Having good cybersecurity hygiene is the best way to avoid getting these small adware infections on your devices. Here are some things you can do to avoid OfferCore:

  • Use additional security software, like NordVPN’s Threat Protection, to scan programs and files for malware while they’re being downloaded. Threat Protection will also stop you if you’re about to enter a malicious website to prevent drive-by-downloads.
  • Choose the custom installation option when getting new software. This way, you can unselect elements you don’t want. Just make sure you read the installation instructions and prompts carefully before clicking “Next.”
  • Don’t download and open attachments in emails if you don’t know who sent them to you and why.

Removal

The easiest way to remove OfferCore is by using a reputable and recently updated antivirus software. It’s virtually impossible to remove it by deleting the files manually because adware often makes copies of itself that allow it to reinstall itself and continue pestering you while you browse.